14 Nov 2019

eSIM: A Nascent Technology to Watch

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After the launch of new iPhones, one of Myanmar’s telecoms, Mytel, has introduced eSIM technology for the first time. The technology currently nascent internationally is now available in the Myanmar and anyone who has an iPhone XR, XS or XS Max and other compatible devices can use it. 

The term “eSIM” simply means an embedded SIM card. There are no physical SIM cards involved and no physical swap-over required.

To use an eSIM it needs to be supported by the network or carrier and enabled by them, so for your new iPhone XR, XS or XS Max you’ll need to choose an eSIM-compatible network for the second SIM support. An eSIM is basically a small chip inside your phone and works in a similar way to the NFC chip. The information on an eSIM is rewritable, meaning you can decide to change operator with a simple phone call. eSIM is backed by the GSMA, the association of mobile networks making it a global standard. 

Great for travellers

Theoretically, eSIM means that you could go to another country and simply add a local eSIM to your handset while retaining access to your main “home” number. That’s one of the disadvantages today because, if you don’t have extra sim slots you need to change SIM and then you can’t access your home number.

The countries that offer eSIM support include Austria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Spain, the UK, and the USA and Myanmar.

What are the pros and cons?

  • simpler device setup without the need to insert or replace a SIM card;
  • devices that can operate independently of a tethered smartphone, with their own subscriptions;
  • a range of new, enhanced mobile-connected devices.
  • users will have to remember to wipe their phone’s SIM before passing the device along; 
  • some critics believe that it will be easier for hackers to get into the cloud storage apparatus that will be the mainstay of the eSIM technology;
  • the cost of the rollout of the eSIM will rest heavily on the purchaser who will like it or not need to purchase an eSIM phone.

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